Election 2012: The Final Victory of the Counter-Culture
It is fitting that President Obama gave his victory speech from Chicago this week, for his re-election is the final and decisive victory by the left in the four-decade culture war that began with the hippie riots at the Democratic Party Convention there in 1968.
That year, Republican Richard Nixon won the presidency by championing "law and order" and pursuing an electoral strategy that appealed to patriotic and traditional values of the "Silent Majority." In 1969, country legend Merle Haggard released the hit "Okie From Muskogee." The song derided the counter-culture with the lyrics "We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee/We don't take no trips on LSD" and "We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy/Like the hippies out in San Francisco do." Haggard followed with the hit "Fightin' Side of Me," which threatened the hippies with a punch in the nose: "When you're running down my country, man/You're walking on the fightin' side of me."
By 1972, George McGovern captured the Democratic Party's nomination for president, promising he would "crawl" to Hanoi to beg the Vietnamese for peace. The candidate of "abortion, amnesty, and acid" lost 49 states to Nixon in one of the biggest presidential landslides in American history.
What a difference forty years has made.
Barack Obama easily won a second term by running the most openly left-wing campaign in American history. Obama is an unreconstructed proponent of the most radical values of the sixties counter-culture. He wrote in his autobiography that he used marijuana and cocaine in his youth and nearly shot heroin with a needle, and that he sought out Marxist professors in college. He is a personal associate of the confessed Weatherman bomber Bill Ayers. Any of these things would automatically deny him the most basic job in law enforcement and prevent him from obtaining government security clearance -- or even from serving on his own Secret Service security detail. The voting public could not care less. Indeed, in three states -- Washington, Colorado, and Oregon -- voters approved ballot initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
In three other states, voters approved gay marriage, and in Wisconsin they elected an open lesbian to the U.S. Senate. Not very long ago, the idea of two males in the U.S. Marine Corps French-kissing or engaging in anal sex would have provoked a violent reaction. This week, the voters re-elected a commander-in-chief who does not know how to properly pronounce "corps" but who has rewritten the Uniform Code of Military Justice to endorse homosexuality.
While McGovern never managed to crawl to Hanoi to beg the Vietnamese for peace, Obama virtually crawled to Cairo to apologize for the United States, and then he withdrew American forces from Iraq without an agreement to maintain a military presence there. The counter-culture has long been fond of the saying "It would be a great day if schools had all the money they need and the Air Force held a bake sale to buy a bomber." Under Obama, that is nearly coming true: F-16 fighters and A-10 attack aircraft consist of 1970s technology, and CH-47 helicopters and B-52 bombers have been in service since the 1950s. They are not being replaced. Neither is the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, commissioned in 1961, which was retired last week. But the Obama Defense Department did manage to name a ship after sixties icon Cesar Chavez, who was neither a war hero nor a brilliant naval officer, but rather a fruit-picker and labor activist.
McGovern wanted amnesty for Vietnam War protesters, but Obama wants amnesty for illegal aliens. He had already instituted a partial amnesty in violation of the immigration law he is sworn to uphold, and he will surely achieve a broader amnesty for illegals in his second term -- enabling them to compete with American workers in an era of 8% unemployment.
Cultural and patriotic conservatives must face the harsh reality of the 2012 election: the culture war is over, and they lost. Badly.
The election was not decided on economic issues, as so many pundits have written. In a time of economic paralysis and crippling debt, the voting public had a choice between a business executive who founded one of the nation's most successful capital investment firms and an unaccomplished dilettante who studied Marxism in college and promised "redistribution of wealth" -- and the public chose the latter. That is an ideological choice, not an economic choice, and a public that has had forty years of indoctrination by the leftist educational establishment was only too happy to make it.
Obama's campaign was devoid of specificity and intellectual coherence. It consisted of little more than the crudest class-warfare agitprop against "the rich," "millionaires and billionaires," and "fat cats." Any of this would have been standard fare at an SDS rally on a college campus in the 1960s; the voters of 2012 swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Romney, whose fortune is estimated in the neighborhood of $250 million, was demonized for his wealth -- yet the president campaigned with Bruce Springsteen and was endorsed by Madonna, whose wealth is surely equivalent to or greater than Romney's but who, unlike Romney, is a vulgar sexual and cultural revolutionary.
Obama's campaign prominently featured Bill Clinton, who, after defeating war hero and distinguished public servant George H.W. Bush in 1992, thought that the Oval Office was just a dandy place to have a young girl get on her knees and pleasure him orally. (One can only imagine how the left would have attacked Romney if he had ever done to an intern at Bain Capital what Clinton did to Monica Lewinsky.) Twenty years ago, Clinton had to at least try to hide his true counter-cultural sentiments by denying that he'd inhaled when he smoked dope and telling he public he thought abortion should be safe, legal, and "rare."
Today, such deception is no longer necessary. Obama wrote in his autobiography that he "enthusiastically" used drugs, and the public shrugged it off. He campaigned on a platform of using taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, and scored a forty-point advantage with single women. (No one seemed to make notice of the fact that, had abortion been legal in 1960 when his mother became pregnant with him at age 18, she probably would not have been "punished with a baby" named Barack.)
Romney lost not because he was incompetent or evil, or because he would have made a poor chief executive, or because he was an out-of-touch plutocrat. He lost because he is unhip. Obama derided him as a man of the 1950s -- and it worked. In 2012, a man who raised five kids, never drank, never smoked, has been married to the same woman for 40 years, had a steady job, and goes to church on Sunday is as much of a freak and an oddity as a long-haired, sandal-wearing hippie with love beads was back in 1968.
The voting public today comprises the tattooed, the pierced, the gay, the promiscuous, the unpatriotic, the unchurched, stoners, those who bear 40% of the nation's offspring out of wedlock, and those who have had some 40 million-plus abortions since 1973.
Obama is their man, and they voted accordingly. And they will vote for similar candidates in the future. The unfortunate truth for the conservative movement is that the counter-culture has become the mainstream; it is the "new normal."